Using Trusted House Sitters to Stay for Free

As I’m sure you’ve probably gathered by now, Jon and I like to travel a lot and people often ask me, “Who takes care of Biscuit (our rescue cat) and Angel, a.k.a. Psycho Pup (our rescued street dog) when you’re away?” Well, here in Vientiane, there aren’t that many options for looking after pets. Our excellent, but rather expensive vet offers boarding, but it costs $15 a day and you have to provide all the food. That soon adds up, plus they spend way too much time locked up in a cage. $15 a day, for a cage! Sometimes Jon and I stay in charming hotels that cost less than that. That got us to thinking about how to become house sitters ourselves.

Angel (a.k.a. Psycho Pup) Playing on the Mekong

Angel (a.k.a. Psycho Pup) Playing on the Mekong

Last year a friend recommended we try Trusted Housesitters to find people to look after our menagerie while we are away. We had read the reviews and it looked good, but at first, I wasn’t that keen on the idea of strangers living in our house while we traveled, but we talked it over and thought we would give it a try. It has been really great! I guess living in Laos must seem quite exotic because I am always amazed by the number of applicants we get. Biscuit the cat who once hissed at everyone that walked through the door, now loves being fussed over by house sitters and seems quite disappointed when we return. Psycho Pup is still a little skittish with strangers and tends to move outdoors for some reason while they stay, but relaxes a little more with each new house sitter. I know she’s a lot happier staying at home than at the vets.

The best part is, not only has having sitters saved us loads of money on kennel fees, but it also sometimes saves us hotel fees too. Through Trusted Housesitters you can also apply to become a housesitter and look after peoples homes while they travel. Yes, there’s no excuse for saying you can’t afford to travel anymore. I love Hong Kong but accommodation is crazy expensive. But last October, in high season, we looked after the lovely dog “Tang” for a week and stayed for free in a cozy apartment on Hong Kong Island next to ManMo Temple and just 10 minute walk from Central.

Signing up for Trusted Housesitters is pretty straightforward. You pay your annual fee of around $99 and fill out a profile. Then you can advertise for house sitters to look after your “babies”, or browse through hundreds of great properties worldwide where people are looking for house/pet sitters. If you love animals (we have seen people looking to have everything from turtles to horses looked after), it is a great way to stay for free. If you are going traveling and you want to have someone watch your home and/or animals while you are away, you can advertise and choose who you want to look after your place while you are away. There is a reference and rating system so you know who you are getting. So far, everyone we have had watch our house has been great.

Yes, we asked ourselves, “Does Trusted Housesitters actually work?” Now that we have tried it for over a year, both as house sitters and having house/pet sitters stay at our house, we can say enthusiastically, yes it does!

A Zen Guide to Housesitting
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Author: Sarah Wilson

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